The best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh

Edinburgh neighbourhood
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Updated by vera2019 on 15 October, 2019

Edinburgh is a city of contrasts. From the old cobbled streets to stunning modern architecture, and the bustle of the city centre to the calm of the leafy suburbs, there is a neighbourhood for all tastes. Read on to discover the character of Edinburgh's most popular residential areas. 

Fountainbridge/ Tollcross

This is a very central location, and you will be well located for shopping on Princes Street and partying in the city centre. There are several student accommodation buildings in this area, so Fountainbridge and Tollcross are always bustling. You will find two cinemas, a theatre, and dozens of great restaurants packed into this small neighbourhood. Most flats here sit above the shops and restaurants down below, so this isn't a location for people craving peace and quiet. However, Edinburgh's canal begins in Fountainbridge, which offers a lovely walk and cycle path for when you want a break from the city centre excitement.

Bruntsfield/ Morningside

Spanning up from Tollcross is Bruntsfield. This is the home of The Meadows, one of Edinburgh's biggest and most-loved outdoor spaces. The tenement flats bordering the park are popular with students, yet Bruntsfield remains a largely peaceful area. As you venture further to the south, you will reach Morningside. This is an affluent area, with large, detached Victorian and Edwardian villa houses. These are family homes, and there are good primary and secondary schools in the area. There are plenty of unique shops and small cafes in Bruntsfield and Morningside. If your idea of a relaxing weekend is enjoying a really good coffee while reading a newspaper, then this is the area for you.

Polwarth and Craiglockhart

Polwarth is another popular choice with students as it is near to Edinburgh Napier University campuses. Its location by the canal makes it a great walking spot, and this neighbourhood is popular with young families. The mix of properties in Polwarth includes tenement flats, terraced houses and mews. To the west of Polwarth is Craiglockhart, which offers larger, detached homes in leafy surroundings, perfect for families.

Haymarket/ Dalry and Gorgi

Edinburgh's second train station is located in Haymarket, and lots of businesses have their offices in this area. A flat in Haymarket is pricey, but a short walk up the road to Dalry and then Gorgie provides a more affordable option, still within easy reach of the city centre. There are sizeable Indo-Pakistani and Polish populations in this area, with multicultural shops to match. Living in this area means you will be near Murrayfield Stadium and Hearts F.C. football ground, as well as the family-friendly Gorgie City Farm. There are great amenities in Gorgie and Dalry, with three sizeable supermarkets, two gyms, and a wide selection of restaurants.

Corstorphine and Clermiston

Corstorphine and neighbouring Clermiston are on the commuter's routes to Glasgow and out towards Fife, and for this reason, these areas are popular with people working on the outskirts of the city. If you are after a detached house with good transport links, then this could be a good area to consider. Most of the properties in Corstorphine and Clermiston are mid-20th-century and modern houses, making this a prime location for families. There isn't much in the way of local shops and bars, though several bus routes will take you into the city centre.

Stockbridge

Stockbridge is a relaxed and sophisticated area, with streets filled with local businesses. If you would rather relax in a wine bar than a club, and enjoy spending your weekend browsing produce markets and independent boutiques, then Stockbridge will suit your needs perfectly. Accommodation in Stockbridge largely comprises of tenement flats and townhouses. Two of Edinburgh's best private schools, Fettes College and Stewart's Melville College, are located in this part of the city. Stockbridge is also where Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden is located, as well as Inverleith Park, which means its a good choice for people who enjoy nature.

Newington/ Southside

Don't be surprised by the number of people walking around Edinburgh University in hoodies as you enter the Southside of the city: this is a key residential area for the 33,000 students enrolled there. This neighbourhood showcases a grittier side to the city, although it remains very safe. Nicholson Street off South Bridge is a hub of Bangladeshi/ Pakistani culture, with Edinburgh Central Mosque in this area. Newington is a busy and vibrant area with affordable accommodation options. But be aware: the Southside is the main hub of Edinburgh Fringe, so in August it is extremely busy.

Leith

Leith is considered the artist's area of the city. It had a bad reputation in the past for poverty and crime in the 1990s, but the past ten or so years have seen Leith become one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in the city for young professionals. The area begins on Leith Walk, which runs down from the East End of Princes Street. This is a hub of independent bars and traditional football pubs, as well as global supermarkets and local restaurants. The jewel in Leith's crown is The Shore, an area at the mouth of the Water of Leith, where cobbled roads and old buildings adorn the sides of the waterway. Here you will find converted warehouses and modern blocks of flats that offer very amenable accommodation.

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